Although two years have passed, Eddie Ng’s razor-thin setback at the hands of former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio Banario is still fresh in Evolve MMA teammate Amir Khan’s memory.
Banario crossed paths with Ng in August 2016 on the undercard of ONE: HEROES OF THE WORLD in Macau, China, where the latter yielded to the Team Lakay representative in a high-octane contest by way of split decision.
It was painful for Khan to witness the defeat of Ng to Banario because the Hong Kong national is not only a friend and comrade, but also a mentor who shaped his professional career as a mixed martial artist.
“I owe where I am right now to Eddie. When he fought Honorio Banario, his back was against the wall. He was trying to break his losing spell at that time. It was tough to watch because he wanted to win so bad, but he came up short,” Khan shared.
Following a split decision loss to Thailand’s Shannon Wiratchai in May 2015, Khan was seeking out additional training sessions at Evolve MMA, ending up joining one of Ng’s classes.
“I wanted to get more sessions on the weekend, so I started taking his amateur class, and I really liked his philosophy of training and stuff,” he said.
“For martial arts overall, and for the man to put it together, Eddie is the right guy for me. He can tell me one thing, and I would be able to do it right away. He is the man who puts the pieces of the puzzle together,” Khan added.
Ng eventually took Khan under his wing and helped the Singaporean standout establish his impressive three-year, six-bout winning streak in ONE Championship.
“He has been one of the most important factors in my career,” he stated. “For the last eight bouts, I have been training with him, and he has been cornering me. Things just work really well with him.”
Khan has built a natural rapport with Ng to the point that he can hear his mentor’s instructions while in the heat of the action during a bout.
Even in the chaotic environment of a live mixed martial arts match, Khan admitted that he is able to take on board his cornerman’s advice and put it into action.
“Wherever I am in the cage, he can call, and I am able to respond quickly. You cannot force a relationship, it just happens. Whatever he says, I can absorb it straight away, and translate it to the cage,” he explained.
Khan bared that Ng’s influence has extended beyond his training at Evolve MMA as the pair has become firm friends away from the hallowed walls of the state-of-the-art training facility in Singapore.
“Even away from competition, we have a really good relationship. We go out to eat, we hang out, talk about life and stuff. He is like a brother to me,” he revealed. “I feel that a good relationship is important if someone is going to be in your corner. It is almost like you trust them with your life because they are the one watching you in the cage and giving you guidance.”
Khan prepares for another bout with his brother-in-arms as he is slated to return to action at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON, which takes place at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China on 8 September.
The 23-year-old Singaporean standout has the opportunity to settle the score for his esteemed mentor as he shares the five-rope ONE Championship ring with Banario.
Khan made no secret of his intention to have his hand raised in his three-round lightweight encounter with Banario at ONE: BEYOND THE HORIZON.
“I want to win this match for Eddie. Honorio and I are in the same division, so it was only a matter of time until we cross paths in this promotion. I am dedicating this bout to Eddie. I will try to make him proud by getting the victory,” he declared.